STATES CHRONICLE – A new study shows that there is a brain circuit in mice, which has a key role in the sleep-wake cycle. Researchers from Stanford University said that the circuit is involved in the reward system. Their goal is to find out new things about the sleep-wake cycle, hoping they will be able to develop new treatments for sleep problems.
Researchers discovered that when they mice were falling asleep, activity in this brain circuit decreased. Moreover, when they activated this circuit, the animals woke up. Luis de Lecea, the professor of psychiatry, said that this has potential huge clinical relevance. They think is possible to develop therapies that could make us sleep better. Researchers want to pay more attention to this brain circuit and understand what is the connection between it and the sleep-wake cycle.
They have to prove that what happens to mice can happen to people. Although research on animals had not always had the same results for humans, this could be different. The reward system is the same in all vertebrates. If it is connected to the sleep-wake cycle at mice, it could be the same for people.
There are millions of Americans that have sleep problems. The United States National Institutes of Health estimated that 25-30 percent are having insomnia or other sleep issues. Even though there is medication for them, they shut down the entire brain. If this brain circuit proves to be similar to humans, researchers could develop drugs that focus only on this area.
How do you know you have sleep problems? First of all, you have difficulty staying awake or feel very tired during the day. People who can’t sleep enough are reacting slowly, have trouble controlling their emotions and feel the need to drink coffee.
If you want to improve your sleep, the best way to do it to allow yourself at least eight hours each night for sleep. Your bedroom should be the safest place for you, use curtains to block the light and turn off the TV or computer. You will feel better when you will not have all those gadgets around you.
Many people are taking sleeping pills to treat their problems. However, pay attention to their side effects and do not drink alcohol while taking them. In the future, we could have better treatments if that brain circuit proves to be similar to humans.
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